Great Barrier Reef Cruise

from £1325
excluding flights *
4 nights Year round


Explore the coral reefs, ancient rainforests and secluded tropical islands most visitors never see. On this relaxing cruise you'll enjoy the very best of the Great Barrier Reef in total comfort and unmatched style.


  • Cruise to the Ribbon Reefs for incredible snorkelling and diving
  • Visit remote coral islands well off the beaten track
  • Explore old-growth rainforest in Queensland's tropical north
  • Step ashore at the historic settlement of Cooktown
  • Hike to the summit of Lizard Island for superb views of the reef
  • NO single supplement!

What's Included

  • Accommodation in cabins with private bathroom
  • All meals including morning and afternoon tea
  • Guided glass bottom boat coral viewing
  • Snorkelling excursions
  • Introductory scuba experience for first time divers
  • Daily lectures and briefings

Full description

Beginning and ending in Cairns, cruise north to Lizard Island via the spectacular Ribbon Reefs and historic Cooktown on this four-night adventure. Explore deserted coral cays, surrounded by reefs that are home to dazzling marine life, visit peaceful tropical islands and step foot in primordial rainforests well beyond the reach of most visitors. Exclusive moorings mean you won't be surrounded by hundreds of other reef visitors - while our small ships accommodate a maximum of just 50 guests, ensuring an intimate and personalised experience. The informative crew is always on hand to provide assistance and information about the Great Barrier Reef, its ecology and conservation. You will be accompanied by a marine biologist, who will explain the many wonders of the reef as you make use of the ship's glass-bottomed boat.

Should you prefer a closer view you can snorkel your way amongst giant clams, colourful corals and multi-coloured fish in clear tropical waters. An experienced dive instructor can take you for an exhilarating introductory scuba dive, revealing even more of this breathtaking World Heritage-listed wonderland. Or you can choose to simply relax on the sun deck, in the open-bridge or spa as we cruise serenely through some of the most idyllic scenery Australia has to offer.

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nordic team doug kington bw
Authentic holidays for passionate travellers

Prices & Dates *


Airfares start from around £730 per person and are quoted separately to the holiday price. When enquiring, our Travel Specialists will provide the best fare possible from your preferred airline / airport.

From prices per person

Departure Duration Vessel Twin or Single Price (pp)
01 Apr 2020 - 29 Mar 2021, every Mon 4 nights Coral Expedition II £1,325

An extended 7-night cruise also operates every Monday and Friday. Prices start from £2,114 per person. Contact us for further details.

What's Included

  • Accommodation in cabins with private bathroom
  • All meals inc. morning & afternoon teas
  • Use of snorkelling equipment
  • Guided glass bottom boat coral viewing
  • Snorkelling excursions
  • Introductory scuba experience for first time divers
  • Daily lectures and briefings
  • Access to islands, marine and national parks
  • 24 hour emergency assistance from our team during your holiday
  • No surcharge guarantee
  • Full financial protection »
Group Size: Minimum group size: 18 Maximum group size: 42

Itinerary & Accommodation

Itinerary & Accommodation

Day 1: depart Cairns

Board your Coral Expeditions' small ship for a 5pm departure from Cairns. As you depart and cruise Trinity Bay, there is time to settle in and explore your home for the next four nights. In the evening, join the crew and your travelling companions on the top deck to enjoy a glass of champagne as you cruise northward, passing Double Island and the pretty beachside village of Palm Cove. Admire a spectacular sunset over the World Heritage-listed rainforest of the Macalister Range.

Day 2: Cooktown

You have the morning to discover historical Cooktown. It was here that the famous explorer Captain James Cook took refuge during his voyage of discovery after claiming Australia as a British colony in 1770. You have the Option to visit Cooktown's fascinating historical museum, featuring original artefacts from Cook's ship - Endeavour. See the original anchor and cannon, jettisoned overboard after Endeavour struck a reef and began taking on water. Cooktown is steeped in history with most stone buildings dating back almost a century. Enjoy time to discover Cooktown at your own pace. Perhaps visit the Botanic Gardens, where you may catch a glimpse of some native Australian wildlife including kangaroos and wallabies. This afternoon visit one of the remote uninhabited islands of the Great Barrier Reef. Join our marine biologist for a glass bottom boat tour over the colourful coral gardens and discover some of the 1500 species of tropical fish that call the reef home. You may wish to enjoy our first snorkelling opportunity for an up-close view of the hundreds of varieties of coral growing on this section of reef. The experienced crew will be on hand to provide assistance, advice and guided snorkelling tours for less experienced swimmers.

Day 3: Lizard Island

This morning you awaken moored beside beautiful Lizard Island. The energetic may wish join the guides on a walk to 'Cook's Look' on the island's peak. It was from here, the highest lookout on this part of the reef, that Captain Cook was able to navigate a safe passage back through the treacherous waters after repairing the Endeavour near Cooktown over 200 years ago. A photographer's delight, the views from the lookout over the World Heritage-listed reef and surrounding tropical islands are magnificent. Lizard Island's fringing reef, in the shallow waters just metres off the beach, offers some fantastic snorkelling opportunities. Discover giant clams and a profusion of fish. Simply relax on the beach, join the Marine Biologist for a glass bottom boat tour, or for the ultimate Great Barrier Reef experience, accompany the Dive Instructor on an unforgettable SCUBA dive. The choice is yours! This afternoon cruise to Ribbon Reef No 9, a spectacular and seldom visited part of the reef where activities will include more snorkelling opportunities and glass bottom boat tours with the Marine Biologist.

Day 4: Ribbon Reef & Rachel Carson Reef

The Great Barrier Reef is not actually one continuous reef, but a series of thousands of individual coral cays stretching over 1800 miles between the town of Bundaberg and the tip of Australia at Cape York. Spend the day visiting two of the most spectacular sections of the reef, Ribbon Reef No 3 and Rachel Carson Reef. Explore the coral gardens and marine life with guided snorkelling and glass bottom boat tours. The Marine Biologist will explain the natural history and evolution of the reef and help you discover the local wildlife, which includes sea turtles, giant clams, rays and over 200 different species of native birds. Today will also be your last opportunity to experience the reef through SCUBA diving, so allow the Dive Instructor to guide you on an unforgettable experience of a lifetime. This evening, enjoy your final memorable night cruising the Great Barrier Reef.

Day 5: arrive Cairns

Bid farewell to the Captain, crew and new-found friends before disembarking at Trinity Wharf in Cairns early this morning.

Coral Expeditions II


Grade: Standard

Type: Expedition Ship

Small but perfectly formed, the Coral Expeditions II is ideal for expedition cruising and even features its own glass bottom boat for additional marine exploration.

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